published Monday, April 16th, 2012

'Scream room' usage makes parents of autistic kids cry out for answers

Elizabeth St. Vincent, left, helps her 12-year-old son Andrew play with Legos at their home in Brentwood. Andrew, who is autistic, was placed in a “seclusion room” at Scales Elementary School when he threw tantrums.
Elizabeth St. Vincent, left, helps her 12-year-old son Andrew play with Legos at their home in Brentwood. Andrew, who is autistic, was placed in a “seclusion room” at Scales Elementary School when he threw tantrums.
Photo by The Tennessean /Chattanooga Times Free Press.
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His parents pose the questions around the coffee table as Andrew St. Vincent builds a Lego city.

They want to know about the room.

“So you were in there by yourself?” his mother asks.

“When would you be in that room?” his father wants to know.

Michael and Elizabeth St. Vincent have never seen the room. Andrew, their autistic child, told them about it months after they took him out of the Williamson County School District. He went into the room when he threw tantrums, he said.

Teachers put special-education students in “seclusion rooms” when the students exhibit aggression and let them go to “calming rooms” to pre-empt that behavior. The St. Vincents say their son spent too much time isolated in those rooms when he was supposed to have been mainstreamed with other fifth-graders at Scales Elementary School.

Read more at the Tennessean.

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